Newcastle started pre-season off with a win in Dublin tonight, seeing off Irish Premier League side St Patrick’s Athletic 2-0 thanks to goals from Sean Longstaff and Christian Atsu.
As always with any pre-season opener, it was a run out for the purposes of fitness more than anything, however the game was still played at a half decent intensity, with both sides pressing and getting stuck in.
The highlight was Longstaff for me. Not only did he take his goal well – a nicely time volley in off the post – he did things quickly, with a lot of first team passes, and played with his head up. Always showed for the ball and made plenty forward runs into good areas when we were in possession.
Victor Fernandez and Callum Roberts – who played a half each – both looked bright considering they were being played out of position at right-back and left-back and ex-Everton youngster Yarney looked solid enough at the back. Armstrong also grew into it late on and showed good pace.
Aarons didn’t really take his opportunity to impress – and you get the feeling he’s running out of time to do that. Ran a little aimlessly with the ball and was quite cheap in possession.
In terms of the more senior players, Diame looked in good knick and pressed well early on, Kenedy was bright and smashed the bar with a cracking effort from range and Atsu looked very bright – with him taking men, playing a big part in us winning the penalty and converting from the spot.
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Gayle and Joselu frustrated a little. Plenty effort but I’m not sure they hit the target once despite having about 4/5 shots between them.
Darlow and Sels didn’t have a single save to make but neither looked all that convincing, with the former almost missing his kick and the latter’s only contribution being to flap at a cross.
NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1): Darlow, – Fernandez, Lejeune, Yarney, Manquillo – Diamé, Longstaff – Ritchie, Pérez, Aarons – Joselu.
Subs: Sels, Dúbravka, Yedlin, Clark, Shelvey, Atsu, Kenedy, Roberts, Armstrong, Gayle. (Everyone but Dubravka played the entire second half)
A decent little run out for the lads. Hull City away next up in a weeks’ time.
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